Past, present and imaginary: Pathography in all its forms

Annemarie Jutel, Ginny Russell
2021 Health  
Diagnosis is a profoundly social phenomenon which, while putatively identifying disease entities, also provides insights into how societies understand and explain health, illness and deviance. In this paper, we explore how diagnosis becomes part of popular culture through its use in many non-clinical settings. From historical diagnosis of long-deceased public personalities to media diagnoses of prominent politicians and even diagnostic analysis of fictitious characters, the diagnosis does
more » ... gful social work, explaining diversity and legitimising deviance in the popular imagination. We discuss a range of diagnostic approaches from paleopathography to fictopathography, which all take place outside of the clinic. Through pathography, diagnosis creeps into widespread and everyday domains it has not occupied previously, performing medicalisation through popularisation. We describe how these pathographies capture, not the disorders of historical or fictitious figures, rather, the anxieties of a contemporary society, eager to explain deviance in ways that helps to make sense of the world, past, present and imaginary.
doi:10.1177/13634593211060759 fatcat:4jwgd6wdtne4bcadyiwfhalfsi